You don’t need to spend hours researching prices, hunting down coupon codes, and signing up for emails you don’t want in order to get good deals online.
There are great browser extensions that can automate a lot of the work for you, leaving you with extra cash in your wallet. There are even extensions that can help you support causes that are important to you, and get the best bang for your buck on Steam games. Without further ado, here are some of the amazing money-, time-, and headache-saving tricks your browser can help you with.
Never Miss a Coupon Code
When you go through online store’s checkouts, you have probably noticed empty fields labelled “Coupon code” or “Promo code” for you to fill in, and just left it blank. Have you maybe wondered if there are any coupon codes that exist for that store, and if so, how you can get in on the action?
Sometimes stores send out coupon codes to their email subscribers, but let’s face it — you get too much email as it is, and you’re not going to open another promotional message. So how can you find out about the coupon codes?
Enter the Honey browser extension for Chrome, which alerts you to coupon codes and fills them in for you. Honey keeps a database of coupon codes that work on a variety of different online store websites, notifying you at checkout if you can apply any.
I tested it and found mixed results among Canadian retailers and more luck with American ones. For example, among electronic retailers, BestBuy Canada didn’t have any results, but the American BestBuy site did. Staples.ca, a major electronics and office supplies retailer was supported, but the more niche/local electronics retailer NCIX was not. Honey supports lots of fashion retailers, such as Etsy, Macy’s, JCPenney, Sephora and J.Crew.
Donate to Your Favorite Charities for Free
Did you know that by making one simple switch to your Amazon.com shopping habits you can divert .5% of the price of your purchase to your favorite charity? The AmazonSmile program lets you choose where Amazon donates money, at no cost to you. You don’t even need to set up a new account: you shop with your usual Amazon.com account. (Note: There does not seem to be an equivalent program for amazon.ca or amazon.co.uk).
So what’s the catch? Every purchase you make needs to be made through smile.amazon.com. That means if you find a cool product that you found linked elsewhere through the web, you’ll probably have to change the ‘www.’ in the URL to ‘smile.’. If you forget to change the URL, then the opportunity to support a charitable organization vanishes. That will be a bummer for when you remember, inevitably seconds after you complete checkout and find it’s now too late.
That’s where the Smile Always extension for Chrome comes in. Once you install that one, you never have to worry about remembering to change the URL to AmazonSmile. Any time you hit a www.amazon.com page, Smile Always will redirect you to the smile.amazon.com equivalent! And you get to keep the warm and fuzzy feeling.
Firefox users can get the same effect with the Smile Redirect Firefox Addon.
Compare Prices Without the Headache
Shopping online is great because you can take advantage of products and prices that may not be available in your local area. Unfortunately, along with that comes the anxiety that you may not be getting the very best deal you could. Does another retailer have the same product available for less? Diving into price-comparisons can very easily turn a quick and easy shopping experience into a nightmare that will make you wish you just schlepped out to the store.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, not if you have the Shoptimate: Automatic Price Comparison browser extension. It supports over one hundred retailers in the United States and Europe, among others.
The way it works is that when you visit an individual products page, the Shoptimate Extension’s blue bar will appear at the top of the page informing you if you have the best price, and what other retailers are selling it for. It even factors in the shipping fees, when available.
See Product Price Histories
The only real way to know if you’re getting a good deal when you buy sometime is to know what it sold for before. If you don’t know what it sold for before, and when, you could be easily fooled. The price displayed may say it’s a discount, when in fact that price isn’t much different than it usually is. You might be looking at an item at full price and holding out for a sale you shouldn’t expect. It doesn’t need to be a guessing game though — many products go on sale on a predictable cycle.
You can learn what the price cycle is for products from Amazon (US, UK, DE, FR, JP, CA, CN, IT, ES), Best Buy and Newegg with one extension called Camelizer. The extension will stay completely hidden most of the time until you’re looking at a product page on a supported site, when the icon will appear in your toolbar.
All you have to do is give it a click and you’ll see all the secrets the Camelizer knows about the product’s price history. As you can see above, Camelizer tells me that Amazon.ca has periodically dropped the price of their 6” Kindle device from $79 to $64, so I can think about holding off on that purchase until it drops again. You’ll also have the option to set a Price Watch for when a product goes on sale.
The Camelizer is also available for Firefox.
Manage Your Game-Spending
Those of you who play PC games on Steam are familiar with Steam’s popular sales, featuring deeply discounted games for a limited time. There are amazing deals to be had if you’re patient. But let me ask you this – do you know off-hand how much money you have spent on Steam games? How easily can you find out? Do you feel compelled to purchase bundles come sale season, even though you have a library full of games you haven’t had a chance to touch?
The Enhanced Steam extension will help you manage your spending so you get the value of all the money you put in. It has a variety of features (which we covered before), such as highlighting the games you already own in game bundles, displaying the pricing history for games, and telling you how much you really save on a bundle (that may include games you already have).
It can even provide you with your lifetime spending on your Account Details page, which may help you put your game-buying habit into perspective. If you’d rather not know, you can also turn it off and still keep all the other handy features.
Enhanced Steam is also available as a standalone extension that works in any browser, including the Steam client’s internal browser.
How Do You Get Deals Online?
Do you have any favorite online store to shop at, and if so, why? Do you just buy from whichever retailer will give you the best price? Have higher priced retailers than others won your loyalty, and if so, how?
Finally, do you subscribe to retailer’s newsletters for the coupon codes, and if so how do you feel about extensions like Honey making them available to everyone?
We all like to save money (especially when it’s quick and easy, not a time-wasting hassle), so I hope you find these apps help you find good deals and make your shopping experiences online better. If you liked these apps, you may also find our roundup of Apps for the Compulsive Online Shopper useful too. Then you can take the money you’ve saved and check out the deals offered straight from MakeUseOf!
Image Credit: Smile via Daniel Ayuso Pérez